Saturday, January 20, 2018

Interview With Lauren Spieller!



Today on the blog I am pleased to present an interview with Lauren Spieller! Ms. Spieller is the author of the YA book Your Destination is on the Left, which releases June 26th! :)

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.


1. Would you please describe your debut book, Your Destination is on the Left, in seven words?


Teen nomad finds artistic future after failure

2. In Your Destination is on the Left, Dessa travels the US in an RV. What's one state you haven't visited, that you would like to?


I've never been to Washington state, and I'm dying to go! I'd particularly love to see Seattle! 

Seattle would be neat to go to! :)

3. Random question! What's your favorite kind of coffee?


I am addicted to lattes. Espresso + steamed milk = heaven on earth.

4. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?


Read! The best way to develop your voice and learn about the market is to read everything you can get your hands on. This includes manuscripts by critique partners--you learn by giving feedback on other people's work!

Good advice! :)

5. What are some books you're looking forward to reading in 2018? And if you've already read some '18 books, which books have you loved?


Oh my gosh, there are so many. I'm reading Rachel Lynn Solomon's debut, YOU'LL MISS ME WHEN YOU'RE GONE, and it's lovely. I also can't wait to read Joy McCullough's BLOOD WATER PAINT. Also--and I'll admit I'm super biased because I represent her--but Laura E. Weymouth's debut YA Fantasy, THE VANISHING KINGDOM, is going to blow everyone away. And finally, I can't wait to get my hands on ON THE COME UP by Angie Thomas.

The Vanishing Kingdom sounds really interesting! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. Spieller for participating in this event!

Author bio: Lauren Spieller is a literary agent who lives in New York with her husband. When she isn’t writing, she can be found drinking lattes, pining for every dog she sees, or visiting her native California. YOUR DESTINATION IS ON THE LEFT is her debut novel. Follow her on Twitter @laurenspieller.


Here are a few links:

Friday, January 19, 2018

Interview With Diane Magras!



Today I'm happy to present an interview with Diane Magras! Ms. Magras is the author of the MG book The Mad Wolf's Daughter, which releases March 6th! :)

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.


1. Would you please describe your debut book, The Mad Wolf's Daughter, in seven words?
Lass, legends, swords, knights, brothers, loyalty, secrets

It sounds really good! :)

2. What character from The Mad Wolf's Daughter are you most like?
Ah, that's an easy one: my protagonist Drest! My sword-wielding lass is tough, strong, independent girl, and beholden to no man (I'm not exactly like her, but a version of that). She's fiercely loyal to her father and brothers (as I am to my husband and son), will risk her life for her friends (let's just say I love my friends and make cookies each year for my local library; that has to count!), and is constantly trying to do what's right (how I try to live my life). She makes mistakes, but owns up to them each time. And while I never had a named sword like Drest's, I did have my own sword when I was a teen: a fencing foil that I'd found in our basement and propped on the wall above my writing desk. I'd have loved a real sword then (and now!). Most of all, though, when I was 12 like Drest, I'd have loved to be the kind of confident, brave, and warmhearted person she is.

3. Random question! What's your favorite time period to read about?
I love reading about the early medieval period. It was a brutal time in Europe, but people were inventive and found ways to hope and live, despite all the violence. Authors who research this period often play with tropes and confront stereotypes, and there's a lot of natural drama but also places for warmth and heart. And I'd love to read a middle grade novel that focuses on a medieval Islamic world: Before the Ottoman Empire, the Middle East was a hotbed of culture and intellectualism, not at all the dark ages that we're taught to image for this period. As far as I know, no one had written this yet.

4. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Find joy in revision. This is a profession that takes practice, and most people don't succeed with a first or second draft--often not even a first or second novel. If you see revision as a pleasure rather than a chore, you'll discover new angles and depths of your work. It can be hard to accept that a seemingly final draft isn't truly final, but nearly all drafts have opportunities hiding between their folds. When someone you trust gives you constructive criticism, see if you can be inspired by it. But also know your story's core, and be careful not to upend what made your novel strong in the first place. There's a balance, and it takes practice--like everything else in writing.

 Excellent advice! :)

5. What are some books you're looking forward to reading in 2018? And if you've already read some '18 books, which books have you loved?
I can't wait for Jen Wang's The Prince and the Dressmaker (talk about challenging gender roles! And I love that it's the boy.); Sanyantani DasGupta's The Serpent's Secret (an Indian warrior princess, legends, and demon snakes?! Count me in!); and The Endless King, Book 3 of Dave Rudden's Knights of the Borrowed Dark (a magical knight fantasy series in the modern world with a boy of great power trying to understand his role and his destiny). By the way, there are over 100 more that I know about and also can't wait to read (my Electric Eighteens debut group is full of incredible talent), but I'll just keep this list to three and mention only Sanyantani's book from there because it's an #ownvoices story that the MG market dearly needs.

There are so many good sounding books releasing in 2018! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. Magras for participating in this event! :)



Author bio: All things medieval fascinate children’s author Diane Magras: castles, abbeys, swords, manuscripts, and the daily life of medieval people, especially those who weren’t royalty. Diane lives in Maine with her husband and son and thinks often of Scotland, where her books are set. The Mad Wolf’s Daughteris her debut novel.

Here are a few links:


Thursday, January 18, 2018

Interview With Kelly deVos!



Today on the blog I'm happy to present an interview with Kelly deVos! Ms. deVos is the author of the YA book, Fat Girl on a Plane, which releases June 5th! :)

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.


1. Would you please describe your debut book, Fat Girl on a Plane, in seven words?
Fat girl wants to rule fashion world.

Really looking forward to reading it! :)

2. What was the inspiration for your debut book?
This book was initially inspired by a couple of real experiences. First, like my main character, I was forced to purchase two seats on an airplane. I also worked as a graphic designer for an Italian-based eyewear company that dealt with many luxury fashion brands. I noticed, over time, that some of these brands were fairly hostile to plus-size girls and women and I wanted to discuss that issue.

3. Random question! What's your favorite TV show?
Right now, I’m watching Stranger Things 2! But if we’re confessing things, my all-time favorite is probably Law & Order! 

4. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
My best advice is always to #keepgoing. This can be really tough in the face of rejection and criticism but I think the best thing to do is to keep writing, keep improving your craft and keep engaging with your community of writers.

Great advice! :)

5. What are some books you're looking forward to reading in 2018? And if you've already read some '18 books, which books have you loved?
In terms of books I’ve already read, I can’t say enough good things about AMERICAN PANDA by Gloria Chao which tells the story of a Taiwanese-American teen overachiever whose parents want her to become a doctor despite the fact that she’s a germophobe. I’d really recommend NICE TRY, JANE SINNER by Lianne Oelke because it had a great story and also was the kind of book that made me think a lot about my own craft – particularly as it relates to dialogue. I also loved THE MIDNIGHTS by Sarah Nicole Smetana which has so much to say about family relationships and has such a cool SO Cal setting.

I’m looking forward to THE DIMINISHED by Kaitlyn Sage Patterson which is set in a world where almost everyone has a twin. I also keep hearing great things about Joy McCullough’s verse novel BLOOD WATER PAINT and I’m super interested to read Kristina Perez’s SWEET BLACK WAVES because she is basically a genius of Medieval Literature and I can’t wait to see her fantasy world building.

I'm looking forward to books that you mentioned, especially American Panda! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. deVos for participating in this event! :)



Author bio: A third generation native Arizonan, Kelly deVos can tell you everything you’ve ever wanted to know about cactus, cattle and climate. She holds a B.A. in Creative Writing from Arizona State University. Her debut novel, FAT GIRL ON A PLANE, will be published in 2018 by Harlequin Teen and her work has been featured in Normal Noise and 202 Magazine.


Here are a few links:

Wednesday, January 17, 2018

Interview With Alexa Donne!



Today I'm pleased to present an interview with Alexa Donne! Ms. Donne is the author of the YA book Brightly Burning, which releases May 1st!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.



1. Would you please describe your debut book, Brightly Burning, in seven words?
Jane Eyre in space, aka Space Angst!



2. Brightly Burning is a reimagining of Jane Eyre. Are there any other classic books you would like to retell?
That is a GREAT question, and slightly tricky to answer without revealing the secret of my follow-up to BRIGHTLY BURNING, which is another classic retelling set in the same universe. I’ll say that, like so many readers, I adore Jane Austen and have designs on adapting one or more of her books, for sure. I especially love Pride & Prejudice, Emma, Persuasion, and Sense & Sensibility (so… most of them? haha). I also love Dickens’ Great Expectations, Elizabeth Gaskell’s North & South, and a number of Shakespeare plays (especially Hamlet!). One classic I don’t have any particular designs on: Wuthering Heights. I’m a one Bronte sister kind of girl! *sits on hands so as not to spill secrets*

I look forward to seeing what the follow up will be! :)


3. Random question! What Hogwarts house would your main characters be sorted into?
This was too much fun, so I’m including my extended core cast of characters (with a note on who their Jane Eyre analog is!). I also totally waffled on a few of these, especially Stella and Hugo and I may change my mind later :P

Stella (Jane): Ravenclaw

Hugo (Rochester): Hufflepuff

Jessa (Adele): Slytherin

Karlson (St. John): Gryffindor

George (N/A): Hufflepuff

Bianca (Blanche Ingram): Gryffindor

Mari (N/A): Slytherin

Xiao (Mrs. Fairfax): Hufflepuff


4. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?
Don’t give up. It seems super obvious, but seriously: the key difference between an author who succeeds (in being traditionally published) and one who doesn’t is that the author who “makes it,” typically, simply didn’t give up. Rolled up into this is challenging yourself to grow, being willing and able to kill your darlings and move on from projects that aren’t working, and pushing yourself to both explore new genres & stories while also leaning into your strengths and what you love. I also advise doing your research/due diligence so you are as prepared as possible for the industry and all its ups and downs. The struggle doesn’t end when you get an agent or a book deal!

Really great advice! :)


5. What are some books you're looking forward to reading in 2018? And if you've already read some '18 books, which books have you loved?
So far I’ve only read AMERICAN PANDA by Gloria Chao, and I adored it! It was an emotional rollercoaster--I laughed out loud, I cried (more than once!) and every character just leapt off the page. I highly recommend it to ANYONE who likes engaging, funny character driven books. I’m not usually a big YA contemporary reader but it just checked every box for me!

I’m anxiously awaiting a number of 2018 books, including but certainly not limited to: THE SKY IN THE DEEP by Adrienne Young, DEAR RACHEL MADDOW by Adrienne Kisner, NOT EVEN BONES by Rebecca Schaeffer, ONE GIANT LEAP by Heather Kaczynski, NIGHTBLOOD by Elly Blake, HEART OF IRON by Ashley Poston, THE BELLES by Dhonielle Clayton, DEFY THE WORLDS by Claudia Gray, NOTHING LEFT TO BURN by Heather Ezell, HEART OF THORNS by Bree Barton, A COURT OF MIRACLES by Kester Grant, DARK OF THE WEST by Joanna Hathaway, and SHIP IT by Britta Lundin.



I'm looking forward to lot of these! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. Donne for participating in this event! :)



Author bio: Alexa Donne is a Ravenclaw who wears many hats, including fan convention organizing, teen mentoring, college admissions essay consulting, YouTube-ing and podcasting. When she’s not writing science fiction and fantasy for teens, Alexa works in international television marketing. A proud Boston University Terrier, she lives in Los Angeles with two fluffy ginger cats named after YA literature characters. Visit her at www.alexadonne.com or on most social media spaces @alexadonne.


Here are a few links:




Tuesday, January 16, 2018

Interview With Kamilla Benko!



Today I'm pleased to present an interview with Kamilla Benko! Ms. Benko is the author of the Middle Grade book The Unicorn Quest, which releases January 30th!

Here's the interview!

The bold font are the questions I asked, the regular font are her answers, and the bold italic font are my comments about her answers.



1. Would you please describe your debut book, The Unicorn Quest, in seven words?

Secrets, missing sisters, magical art, unicorns--discovery! 


2. In The Unicorn Quest, Claire and Sophie enter the world of Arden. If you could go into any fantasy world for a day, which world would you choose?

This is an incredibly difficult question for me! I love fantasy worlds of all kinds, from Hogwarts, to Tortall, to Pern, to Red London, and Chrestomanci's England, to Lyra's Oxford, to Bayern, to Kyrria, to Camp Half-Blood and many, many more. So, I'm going to cheat and say I'd like to visit the Woods Between the Worlds in C.S. Lewis' The Magician's Nephew with the hope that I'd be able to spend the day jumping into pools and potentially discovering all the other literary fantasy worlds. 

There are a lot of great fantasy worlds! :)


3. Random question! Do you listen to music while you write?

I do! But I can only listen to music without English lyrics, or else I find myself starting to type the lyrics out. This means there's a lot of movie soundtracks, classical music, french cafe, and "ambient medieval music" that pops up on my playlist. I do make an exception to my lyric rule though when it comes to Loreena Mckennitt, though. Her music is so magical! 


4. What's one piece of advice you would give aspiring authors?

Read, read, read!

Good advice! :)


5. What are some books you're looking forward to reading in 2018? And if you've already read some '18 books, which books have you loved?

There are so many I'm looking forward to! One of the best things about being an author is that you get to sneak peak a lot of books. I read and loved Anne Meriano's LOVE SUGAR MAGIC: A Dash of Trouble (Janurary 2) and Sayantani DasGupta's The Serpent's Secret (February 27). 

They both look good! :)

Thank you so much to Ms. Benko for participating in the event! :)



Author bio: Kamilla Benko spent most of her childhood climbing into wardrobes, trying to step through mirrors, and plotting to run away to an art museum. Now, she visits other worlds as a children's book editor. Originoally from Indiana, she currently lives in New York with her bookshelves, teapot, and hiking boots.

Here are a few links: